The Socialist Ideal in the Labour Party

Martin R. Beveredge


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The Merlin Press Ltd
1 February 2022
ISBN: 9780850367768
240 pages

From the publisher

Millions of people across the globe face a precarious existence because of Covid-19, climate change, and the greatest wealth inequality in a century.

In Britain, the pandemic has revealed critical failings in the social safety net, especially the damage to the National Health Service caused by years of underfunding and creeping privatisation. The role of the state in sustaining the economy with huge disbursements of funds has been thrown into sharp relief, showing how little truth there was in the phrase: 'There is No Alternative'. We do depend on each other. Funds can be found. Most Labour supporters confront the problems of poverty and social inequity with the ethical socialist values of collective solidarity, respect, and equality. How did these ideals develop?

This book follows their evolution in Britain since Robert Tressell's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists in the early twentieth century, and reviews developments over the last hundred years. The 1945 Labour government inspired hope that nationalisations were a 'first step' towards socialism, and for a time ended poverty and mass unemployment. It was followed by the Labour governments of 1964-1970, then Tony Benn, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Jeremy Corbyn. Despite defeats and setbacks, ethical socialism still lives on in the Labour Party, inspired by historical events and social struggles. This book looks at the importance of socialist ideals for the challenge of building a fairer and more equal society, and a better world.